Most of my NCAA predictions are already out there because of the tennisrecruiting.net article, but just so we all have something to talk about, I’m going to post a few predictions for the significant round of 32 matches that will be taking place tomorrow (and the CMS/Cruz final).
Amherst Region- nothing happening
#2 Emory vs. #20 Washington & Lee
I don’t really see any way the Generals can win this match. I would love to come up with a scenario that goes something like, “well, if they can sweep doubles and then White has the match of his life and then the rest of the Emory team gets super tight…” but give Washington & Lee’s doubles performance today that has zero chance of happening. Emory will probably sweep the doubles and pick up two quick singles victories for a 5-0 win.
#11 Whitman vs. #19 NCW
If this were March Madness, this would be the match everyone pegged as the “upset special.” It’s like a 5-12 matchup where everyone really knows the 12 is better than the five and then they give themselves a pat on the back for picking the “upset.” Don’t get me wrong, I think Whitman got completely shafted with this draw, but they aren’t as good as their ranking indicates. I wouldn’t be surprised if Whitman takes a 2-1 lead in doubles, but my guess is NCW takes a 2-1 lead with wins at 1 and 3. After that, NCW will take control of the match in the heart of the singles lineup. Whitman can win at 1 and 6, but the Bishops have to be favored at 2-5. I’ll take NCW in a 5-2 victory over Whitman with wins at 2, 4, and 5 (and a comfortable lead at 3).
Williams Regional-not much going on
#21 Mary Washington vs. Kalamazoo
This match already happened once. I believe Mary Washington won 8-1 behind the strength of a doubles sweep. We know that things can get shaky for the Eagles if they don’t do well in doubles, but the Hornets have been horrible in doubles all year. I think they’ll sweep again, and I’ll take Mary Washington in a 5-0 victory, though Zoo will be close at the top 3 singles spots.
#5 CMS vs. #6 Cruz
I don’t know how everyone else feels, but this is the California regional final I was hoping for. After losing to Cruz in the regular season for the second year in a row, the Stags will be hungry to avenge the loss, but the Slugs have a history of playing well at the end of the year. The Slugs will have to play much better in doubles than they did against the Hens to win this match. They were lucky to get one doubles match against P-P, and they will need at least two to beat the Stags. With Lane and Erani playing lights out at #1 for the Stags, the only thing giving the Cruz hope is the fact that the freshmen are streaky and the CMS 3 team played horribly today. I think CMS will run away with #1 doubles, but Cruz will win at #2 with the freshmen still getting used to the big stage. #3 doubles should be a battle, but I actually like CMS’ chances there, so I’ll pick them to take a 2-1 lead.
After that, I think Nurenberg continues his remarkable season with a victory at #1. I think the #2 singles match will be closer than it was last time, but Lane should still win that one. I don’t see any way Halabi beats Erani. Larsen obviously played well today to beat Hudson so thoroughly, and I think he has a good chance to beat Marino, but I’m guessing Johnson clinches the match against Bettwy for CMS before he has a chance to finish. The Stanley/Cahill match should be a barnburner that could go either way. I’m surprised the Slugs don’t have Rosner in, but Stanley has quietly put together a good career, and it’s great that the senior got in the singles lineup. Anyways, I don’t think that match will finish, and I’ll revise my pick t a 5-2 Stags victory with #4 and 6 singles still on.
#8 Trinity (TX) vs. #22 Skidmore
This is just one of several interesting rematches the NCAA has set up for us this year. Obviously, the Thoroughbreds beat Trinity earlier this year, but that have done absolutely nothing since then. Trinity bounced back after the Skidmore loss with a nice victory over… well… Bowdoin, but haven’t really played a significant match since then. To me, the Skidmore loss was a lot like Trinity’s loss to Whitman last year. They had a long Spring Break, and they just didn’t really bring it for one match. The key for them in the last match was that they fell behind in doubles. We all know how rare that is, and I don’t think they’ll let it happen again. I think Trinity jumps out to a 2-1 lead with victories at 1 and 2 doubles. After that, I think they’ll win at 3, 4 and 5 singles to close out the victory. Trinity is favored at #1, but Loutsenko is capable of beating Frey. The #2 singles match between DelaFuente and Sherpa will be a battle, and Skidmore is probably favored at 6. Overall, I think Trinity will come away with a 5-3 victory with #2 singles still on court.
Wash U Region
My body just physically rejected typing “Wash U region,” but I powered through, so I hope you’re all proud of me.
#26 Gustavus Adolphus vs. #30 Wisconsin-Whitewater
Here is another one of those interesting rematches I was talking about a second ago. Just like the last one, I’m going to pick the team that didn’t win the first one. I have a ton of respect for the Warhawks, and I know they will definitely bring it for this match on their home courts. This match will almost certainly be incredibly close. The reason I’m going with Gustavus is because it’s really difficult to beat an evenly-matches team twice in a row. Losing the first time usually gives the other team the extra motivation to pull out the match the second time around. I think that motivation will have an immediate impact in the doubles portion. The Golden Gusties fell behind 1-2 last time, but I think they’ll reverse the decision at #1 doubles to give themselves a 2-1 lead this time around. In singles, I expect Gustavus to run away with 5 and 6, with the rest of the matches being battles. I’ll take Bayliss and Osborne for W-W at 2 and 4, respectively, but I think Donkena will flip the script on Balkin to give GAC the clinching victory. That will give Gustavus the 5-3 win, and leave #3 singles in an unfinished 3-setter.
Those are just my predictions. Have at it.